AUTHOR: Douglas Coupland
I really enjoyed this book, although I kind of find that surprising because Coupland doesn't really develop terribly strong characters. I suppose what I found most endearing of all was the uber-liberal sprinkling of pop culture references used throughout the book -- almost every single one made me grin in recognition. Coupland definitely gets "Gen X" spot on; I believe, if I'm not mistaken, that that is what he is known for. He writes believable, if not very in-depth, characters, and I did find myself becoming attached to a few of them, particularly Dan (the protagonist). Despite this being a book I feel was almost devoid of emotion (from any of the characters), I still did find myself rooting for him. The story is written in small chunks, to be digested like mini-chapters (it's supposed to be Dan's "diary"), so it's easy to feel kind of as disconnected from the plot as each chunk is from the next. But at the same time, a fine story is woven -- and, I did find myself emotional at the sentimental and heartwarming end of the book. It's definitely a fun read, especially for those who grew up in the 90's -- not to say I'm anywhere near the age the book's characters would be, but I still recognized everything they referred to. My particular favorite thing about the book was Dan's stream-of-consciousness journaling -- you'll have to read the book to see what I mean. (Target. Oh I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner. OJ & Nicole. Tickle Me Elmo. The stained dress. Ring Pops. --See? I can do it, too!)
TITLE: The Kite Runner
AUTHOR: Khaled Hosseini
This book was...amazing. I cried so many times while reading it. I didn't find it terribly engaging at first, but it ended up really drawing me in -- the last half of the book flew by so fast! I thought it would take me ages to read, but that was not the case. Hosseini manages to create such lovable characters, even out of the protagonist who you want to dislike for his childhood mistakes. But of course you end up understanding why he made the choices he made, even if you disagree with them. It's a heart-wrenching story, to be entirely honest, but I do recommend that everyone who hasn't already should read it. I learned so much about Afghanistan's history & people -- I was talking with my mom about this book, and we both agreed that what we love most is what we learn about people from the novels we read. You don't even realize you are learning a bit of history here & there as you become engrossed in the story being told. I really didn't know nearly as much about how the Taliban came to Afghanistan, and the country's history (at least from the 1970s on). I am interested in learning much more, now. I know that a novel can't give me the entire story, but my interest was definitely piqued. I think that's the thing about stories -- they can give you such perspective. Something you might not otherwise see, because it's very difficult to put yourself in someone else's shoes. Wonderful storytellers can do that for you, make you see the world through someone else's eyes. I think Hosseini did an amazing job.
Okay -- it's late(ish), and I have to get up to catch a 6:45am flight to Texas tomorrow morning. Which means I'll probably be up at around 4 (if I ever get to sleep at all!). Oy.
I'll be in Austin for the next week (until Sunday afternoon), so I probably won't post unless I find myself near a computer with a bit of time to kill, but I don't mind the break. Love & kisses until you hear from me again! xo
TITLE: Signs of Life: Channel Surfing Through 90s Culture
AUTHOR: Jennifer Joseph & Lisa Taplin, eds.